Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rainy 5k - Big Pumpkin!

I have never ran in the rain until today. I have been a huge wimp, worried my Garmin is actually not waterproof and that my iPod will electrocute my brain. That has all changed today... my Garmin is dry and still functions and my brain did not get shocked at all! =) Score!

BTW - Happy Halloween!!=)

This morning I ran the 2nd annual Big Pumpkin Run 5k in Roswell, GA. The course was pretty nice (for a local 5k race) but the whole situation was super unorganized. As I was driving there this morning I was telling myself to not psych myself out - the hills cannot be that bad ... after all I just ran in San Fransisco! And I think my pep talk in the car was useful but the hills weren't as bad when on foot... they looked worse by car. (Elavation map above.) But frustration set in when there was barely enough parking. I ended up parking illegally, praying to the Gods above my car would still be there when I finished. Then I went to get my race number and they ended up having no safety pins ... they had run out. I was told to tuck my race number in my shorts. Yeah... paper against skin didn't seem like a good idea. I finally asked someone who had 4 safety pins if they could spare one, just one. Lesson learned: be self sufficient. Bring your on safety pins. *my team in training coaches would be so disappointed in me. they always say to bring your own!!*

The race was rainy and cold. When I let my dog out this morning it was hot and humid so I ditched my running jacket on the couch and headed out in shorts and a tee. As soon as I got my race number the skies opened up and the temps dropped. Needless to say, I was freezing cold. Another Lesson Learned: in the fall... dress in layers no matter what.... you can always take off, but you cannot put on if you don't have it. Well... the rain kinda halted, it was misting at the beginning, but by the time we got to mile 1 and then mile 2 and then the finish it was basically pouring. The rain and wind made you work all the much harder ... but each workout you have to challenge yourself right? All you could do was laugh at the situation... call yourself crazy... and enjoy the run. I got frustrated by 7 high schoolers who would sprint sprint sprint and then slam on the breaks and stop in their tracks. I ran into them countless times, they "ran" 7 wide, and I just could not get away from them thanks to their sprinting bursts. Other than that, the run was not that bad.

The ride home was cold in my wet clothes. I had puddles in my shoes. 3rd lesson learned: if rain is forecasted (which it was) bring a change of clothes and shoes. Getting sick is not worth a 3.2 mile run! =)

Finish time: 35 min & 54 seconds.
Lots of lessons learned. Great learning experience. Fingers crossed Disney is dry!! I cannot wait to see if they captured any pictures of me. Doubtful because my number was turned around most of the race, but I cannot wait to see myself as a sopping mess!

Happy Halloween to all and happy running!! =)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Disney Here I Come.

Okay. Call me crazy, but I am running the Disney marathon in just 10 weeks. No, I am not in the shape I need to be but I just knocked out a half marathon 2 weeks ago so how bad off can I be?! My parents are coming with me as my cheering squad ... camera in all ... so I am excited. I am sure I mentioned this before, but the one thing I would have changed about Nike was having a support group and family around and for my first full marathon I will have my family! Wahoo!

Training starts now. Well, not now but today. This time around I am going to incorporate cross training more than I did for the half, but I am going to focus more on the miles than anything. And most importantly... I am actually going to train!

I have been looking for a more up to date elevation map (the only one I can find is from '06) but the course looks fairly flat ... which is a good thing! :o) That will work to my advantage. I am super excited about running with Mickey and Minnie and running through the castle!

course info: Run through all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks starting at Epcot®, continuing on to the Magic Kingdom® Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios™, and then back to Epcot® for an exhilarating finish. This will be the only race on Sunday, allowing you to enjoy the 26.2-mile spotlight. (per the registration page)

I honestly think I may have lost my mind but... “If you can dream it, you can do it” -Walt Disney

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dog Jogs and Hot Stones.

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. Earlier this week I had taken one of my prospects (I work in sales) to lunch and learned that she loves dogs more than I do. She was participating in a "dog jog" at Piedmont Park Saturday morning and I tossed the idea of doing it around. I told my boyfriend and he thought it would be a great idea. I too thought it would be good to give our little monster some much needed exercise and it would be good for me to start working my miles back up after my half marathon ... but since it was for the dogs ... pace and speed didn't matter -- just having fun did. Needless to say my dog was a "monster" - he was barking at every dog that passed him . he hopped on a few innocent runners who were running the around the park . he wanted to play in the lake . he played with the beds for sale by the start . and there is so much more he did. I told my boyfriend and he just laughed saying he knew it would happen. Needless to say.... I think Mulligan the monster needs more training.

I followed the dog jog with a much needed trip to the spa. I opted for the hot stone because it said it was good for the muscles. I don't know about that. I think I hurt more today than I did walking into the spa. My right legs hurts my back feels all sorts of tight and I wasn't too impressed by the "hot stone massage" -- I think I will stick with the normal massages I normally get. But that raises a question. I know you're not supposed to have a good rubdown until 24-48 hours after your race ... but what kind of massage is best. I heard deep tissue is a no-no but what do you opt for?

I hope to have all my kinks worked out soon. I am running a 5k on Saturday and I am pretty excited for it. I wish I had a Halloween costume to wear while running, but oh well. Work is beginning to wear on me so I am thinking about taking my "lunch break" from 3pm-4pm and hitting the pavement for a much needed run. Something about the hour to myself and running is a total de-stresser for me and I think it is much needed to keep me sane. Also, with the days getting shorter it will be a way to get a run in everyday!

I am tossing around the idea of the Disney marathon again in January, but now I really need to make a decision and see if I can commit to the training.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Half Marathon. Complete. Thanks San Fran.

For months I had been planning on running the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco. For months I did not take the training nearly as seriously as I should have. Up until Sunday, I had not run more than a 10k (6.2 miles) and on Sunday I had to run 13.1. I had not even run half the distance. Almost. But not quite. Needless to say, I surprised myself and in my humble (and honest) opinion ... I rocked it. I ran and walked it in 2 hours and 54 minutes. About a 13 minute and some pace. And I placed 8,637 out of 20,000. I have no idea if that is a good time for a first half marathon, but I am just so happy that I finished and never thought I was going to die ... until I crossed the finish line and stopped moving.

The course was absolutely beautiful. San Fran is beautiful. I would love to go back and and sight see ... but not by foot. Those hills are just as killer as they look on TV and in movies, but thank the heavens above they kept us away from "cable car" hills. Overall the race was fairly organized. I was surprised about how many spectators were crossing the course, I got frustrated when I was "boxed" in by the walkers who did not know they needed to be on the right side of the course and forced me to walk as well, and I was kinda annoyed by the photographers (people kept cutting me off and then stopping right in front of me for a Kodak moment) but other than that I really enjoyed myself. The bananas and Luna bars were a much needed treat but I did avoid the chocolate mile. I stayed away from the Gatorade because it the first cup I had did not sit well with my stomach, but I honestly felt really good the whole time. There was never a point that I told myself that I couldn't do it or asked myself how I was gonna do it. I just did it. And it felt great!

Rumor has it that this course was the toughest to date and yes, it had it's moments of trials and pains. For me, it started off fairly easy... I was trucking along. I did stumble in a pot hole around mile 2 and laugh to myself that I would be the girl who fell at the beginning and could not finish. Actually, I was pretty klutzy the whole time. I kept tripping on the orange road reflectors too. Awkward. The first two hills were not that bad. You could tell who had and had not hill trained because a lot of people were walking up the hills. I managed to zip right up them (which was confidence booster) ... thinking OK we're going up, so at some point we have to go back down. After the 2nd hill they kinda looped us around and we got to go back down but honestly, the downs were rougher than the ups but I did run down them completely to make up for lost time. Mile 6 was in fact the killer (I posted the elevation map a week or so back) but I really do think I spent some time psyching myself out and telling myself I cannot do it, because when I saw it as I was coming down a hill and rounding a corner, I just keep thinking oh gosh that must be mile 6. I really did want to run up as much of it as I could; however, it was narrow and I got stuck behind a solid line of walkers so I had to admit defeat and walk it. Which sucked. I ended up walking all of mile 6 basically because I could not get the motivation to get moving. My favorite part was the long mile, downhill, by the Pacific Ocean. The view was spectacular and made me want to come back and see San Fran again. The weather was awesome - cold at the beginning, but once I started moving I warmed right up.

The race was just emotional for me as well. I was teary crossing the start because it was hitting me how real the whole thing was. I was teary a few times while running because the spectators were so so so supportive and at the end because well, in my opinion I kicked some San Fran booty. I ran in honor of my friend Beka who is currently battling leukemia and my friend Adele's grandma who is too battling the awful disease. I talked to a girl who was diagnosed with lymphoma and then it came back 2 more times. To have all the people on the sidelines cheering for me, giving me high fives, and motivating me a long the way was amazing. Around mile 10 I saw my team in training coach, Jo, and she ran up to me, held my hand, and said how proud she was of me. And that too, meant the world to me.

A few things that I learned from this experience...
  1. Actually train. Don't take the training and preparation too lightly. I think if I had done more I could have run longer, taken less walk breaks, and finished faster.
  2. Music really does make the run - but don't have it too loud. The crowd cheering for you really does push you and make you want to run. It boosts your attitude and drive to finish and succeed.
  3. Find a good pair of socks. I didn't blister (thank god) but my feet did kill by mile 10. A little extra padding would have gone a long way!
  4. Don't over analyze. The first few miles I spent a lot of time looking at my Garmin for pace, distance, etc. As soon as I stopped looking at it and enjoying the crowds it didn't matter that I was at mile 7 or mile 9. It was just a good time, with great sights, great people, and encouraging signs all around.
  5. Start slow. You have 13.1 or 26.2 miles to complete. There is no point to blast off the start line. I got passed by so many people at first and then I passed them. Set your ipod to have music that will force you to move slow. That's what I did and then had faster music to get me moving faster.
  6. Ice bath. It's cold. They're uncomfortable. But your body will thank you a million times over. I still semi hurt 2 days later, but I am no where near as bad as some of the other runners who ran and I talked to. I can walk ... many of them cannot. Suck it up and sit in in for 15. Throw in some Epsom Salt to. Oh the aches will love you.
  7. When it comes to GU's ... try them before the run. I tried a new flavor and almost vomited on the course. Lesson.Learned.

Overall. It was an amazing experience that I cannot wait to do again ... just with more prep and a cheering section. I feel like I rocked it and that is all that matters. It is a total sense of accomplishment that no one can take away from me. To have my boyfriend, boss, run coach, and parents tell me they are so proud of me made my day. It truly was something I will never ever ever forget. And to everyone who supported me, encouraged me, gave me helpful hints and tricks, and donated - you truly do mean the world to me and I could not have done this without your love and support! Thank you so so so much! :o)

Next in line. A 5k on Halloween and I want to run the ING in March. I am just going to keep running.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

hunt for the perfect pair of socks.

So one of the "big rules" of marathon training is "nothing new" for the last two weeks of training. But, let me tell you a little story. I still have not found a pair of socks that really wow me and make me want to run a 13.1 miles in them. Granted, so far my Adidas sport socks from Stienmart are the leader, I did what I was not supposed to do but went out and bought another pair of socks to give them a whirl.

I went to REI today to stock up on marathon supplies. I picked up GUs, a mini body glide to bring on the run, gloves, and a pair of Wigwam Iron Man Velocity Plus socks (in pink of course). Evidently they ... repel moisture, prevent blisters, are lightweight, and foot hugging. All things I look for in a sock! They don't have quite the padding I am looking for, but I will see if that matters or does not matter.

The Target Champion brand of socks suck. Thorlos, what people brag about, make my feet want to die because they're in a sauna. Asics ... their socks on average at best. Adidas so far has the best socks but I feel like they could blister. Who would have thought socks are so hard to find.

So other than socks I have my raceday gear chosen. The socks are still

  • mandatory purple team in training tee. I originally wanted a singlet but then learned it was gonna be freezing so I opted to switch and grab a tee. hopefully, i will not regret that decision.
  • long sleeve white nike fit shirt for the beginning of the race. to be tucked into my shorts because rumor has it midway through the race it gets cold again.
  • black nike fit shorts with pink and purple piping. {i am obsessed with the nike fit line}
  • the same white sports bra I have been running in for months.

Well. this week is all about maintaining, eating right, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep. It is crazy how quickly this moment and race has snuck up on me. And now I am off for a run in full race day gear, just to ensure I like it all and to try and decided how these socks work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Getting Ready.

12 days to race day. 12 days till the day of realization how unready I am for my 1st ever half marathon. I was actually chatting with my Team in Training run coach and to quote her, she told me "it would be a rough day in San Fransisco" for me. Yay? I cannot act shocked, I think like many people I did not take this as seriously as I should have. (I have a friend running the Chicago Marathon this weekend who has not run in 2 months.) I sometimes wonder how people who work full time can train for a big race like this and still have a life outside of training and work. Maybe it's just me since I work like 50 hours a week. Oh well.

I am not feeling too great but I decided I needed to move my legs a bit yesterday so I hit the treadmill. It reminded me how much I hate the treadmill ... and this line of talk just reminded me I need to charge my Garmin. I am doing some "movement" (as I like to call it) because I am trying to pick my half marathon gear. I got a new pair of kicks the other day so I am working on breaking those in, but I think I may stick with the shoes I have been running in months for. No worries, they're still good... they have not hit the 300 mi mark just yet. The socks that were given me in the race participation bag from the Big Peach 10K the other week were/are awful so I am not wearing those either. I need to go get a long sleeve tech shirt for the race start and gloves. Rumor has it San Fran will be chilly. Awesome? BUT... so far my half marathon itunes playlist for race day is amazing so I am happy about that.

I am keeping on keeping on. I am up for a BIG run on Saturday and then I am gonna do little runs all next week. I am in no way prepared for this, but all in all I signed up to support my friend who is battling Leukemia and to raise money to blood cancer research and to date I have raised $4700. So at least I feel like a rockstar is one aspect of this adventure!